Here’s one for my growing file for Rhode Island politicians’ not even caring to pretend our government operates as it’s supposed to:
… when asked on Wednesday how hard it will be to sell the reworked toll proposal to rank-and-file lawmakers, [House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D, Cranston)] said: “I am not concerned about it. Not at all. It will be a very strong vote. Not even close.”
The reality is that almost every vote that comes to the floor is “not even close,” and that it’s been that way for so long most regular viewers are stunned when something doesn’t go according to plan. There was a time, though, when Rhode Island’s elected leaders would at least pretend the floor debate mattered and outcomes hadn’t already been decided in back rooms. Back then, a house speaker might have said something like: “Well, we’ll have to make our case to the representatives, but I’m confident that our members will agree that this bill is the best option for the state.”
Oh, we’d have all known that the votes were already counted, but at least there would have been lip service to the importance of all the formalities of role calls, discussion, and journals. At this point, it’s difficult to understand why we make legislators show up at their desks at all in an era of revolving-door laws that don’t apply when they’d be most appropriate, employees who are hired outside of government, and hundreds of millions in debt on which voters never get to vote.
Think how much more fundraising they could get done if they didn’t have to be at their desks to vote.